Things I Love Thursday: Vintage Quiet Book

On some Thursdays, I’ll share something random that I’m really liking, enjoying, or appreciating. Just a little post to share a little snippet of life right now. I’d love to know if you also like these things, and what you’re randomly into these days!

In the last year or so, I’ve seen people online talking about quiet books. When they explained it, I was like, I totally had one of those! I loved it!

A quiet book is basically a hands-on-activity book (unlike a book you draw/write/color in), aimed at toddlers/preschoolers. There are tons of ideas and options out there; here are results from Etsy and Pinterest if you want to buy or make your own.

I asked my mom about it recently, and she just found it! Our guys have already played with some of it.

Here is what our vintage quiet book contains, if you want some ideas or inspiration. The pages are a bit stained, and some of the velcro bits need to be repaired or replaced, but in general, it’s in decent shape for being more than thirty years old!

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(There are three mini ladybugs inside.)

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(This page is how I learned to braid!)

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Did you have a book like this when you were little? Do you have one now for your little one? Would you ever make one?

Pinspiration: Father’s Day Craft

Last spring, I decided semi-last minute to do a craft for Father’s Day. I found this on Pinterest :

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Pinterest             /        Original source

“Heartfelt quotes” aren’t really our thing, and they’re definitely not my husband’s thing. But I figured it was a great basic idea.

Here’s my take on it:

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This was a really quick and easy project, and I only used things I already had.

First, I used my black stamp pad to stamp each baby’s footprint, so that together they made a heart. (I wrote each baby’s name next to the print.) This was just on regular copy paper.

The background is scrapbook paper, the blue heart is another piece of scrapbook paper. I wanted a cool pattern for the letters, but didn’t like any of the paper I had, so I actually went online and into Photoshop to make a pattern. I then typed out the letters in outline and printed it all, and painstakingly cut out the letters.

Then I put it into an empty IKEA frame we had lying around. Et voila–Happy Father’s Day!

This is a really easy craft, and super customizable. And best of all, besides being free, it’s super cute and a great keepsake!

Baby Room Makeover!!

Previously: My thoughts on “nurseries” and the first baby room makeover/setup.

The babies have been sleeping in their room for what, six months now? They don’t really spend any time there in daylight. But as they get bigger, and our living room-slash-playroom starts to feel smaller, I started to think about actually getting some fun use out of their bedroom.

Before:

Since that first setup, we added the second crib and moved them to the opposite wall. DSC_1499-76

The dresser was nearly empty. All of their clothes are downstairs next to the changing table, since that’s where we dress and change them.

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The left half of the top shelf is books for the babies. Technically, I’ve had a bunch of those picture books for years already from teaching. All the rest of the books and crap on this bookshelf is mine. Selfishly taking up space in my babies’ room because I don’t know where else to put it.

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Piles. Stuff. Tools. Crap. Also dust. (Babies are not usually underfoot.)

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And now the After:

New decorations!! First of course are the map letters, which I made myself–see all about those here. The long frame in the middle is a few years old. I had some black and white nature photos in there, and it’s been leaning in a corner in our room for like a year. Now it holds pictures of our summer beach trip. This had been sitting in the living room for a couple weeks, waiting to be hung, and the babies LOVE looking at it! They point/tap at themselves and us. I think I need to get more big photos printed up and put them in a baby-safe frame or sleeve so they can play with them. The alphabet print is this lovely Cavallini wrapping paper, and it fits PERFECTLY in this Virserum frame from IKEA. (So that huge framed print cost a total of $25!)

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Adorable prints and wooden growth chart! The 11×14 frames were on clearance at joann.com. The growth chart is from a local toy shop. At Christmas we will get some small kid furniture which will fit here too.

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I found this twin boys reading print on etsy last year. I love pretty much everything about it, so much.

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The personalized best friends print is from Minted. We want our babies to be best friend brothers. 🙂

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This 9-cubby organizer was actually one of the first mental makeovers I made. It’s been in the garage since we moved it out of the living room earlier this year. Since the white dresser wasn’t really being used, I realized it needed to go, and that this piece could be part dresser, part kid-friendly shelving. The fabric drawers contain the extra crib sheets, and some clothes that are still a little big, and a few other random things. The open shelves hold books, toys, and wipes. The Pooh hanging is from Andy’s childhood bedroom. 🙂 Oh, and the curtains are from IKEA. I think they are so cute and happy! They don’t block any light, though, and this room gets all the strong morning light. So I dug out the thick red curtains from our Brooklyn bedroom, and together they do a good job keeping the room nice and dark when needed. Maybe someday I’ll cut the red ones to be the same length as the white ones.

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I framed 8x10s of the babies with each of their grandparents (which is three photos). The fourth one is a placeholder for another photo of us four. I might get (or make!) one of those “FAMILY” artsy signs to put above them. And we can add more photos to either side if we want to! (These are hung up with Command strips, so they can be taken down/moved/put up with ease.) That little shelf/drawer piece is also a placeholder. The tools are in the drawers right now, but I’ll put them into a bin or basket in the linen closet. Later we plan to put a large toy in this space.

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And that’s it!

I am so, so pleased with how everything came together. There’s no theme, it’s not styled just so like all the beautiful Pinterest nurseries, and there’s still a bunch of random crap in the closet. But I think it’s warm, eclectically fun, and friendly.

I love that it’s open, and should stay pretty open even once the larger pieces are added in. I think it will be a fun space for the babies to play and have fun! I want to invent reasons for me to hang out in there and enjoy it myself too. 🙂

Most of the new items were re-purposed, handed down, or on sale–so all together, this makeover really wasn’t even that expensive! And it was easy to complete in just a few days, with the help of my husband and visiting mother-in-law.

Here are the befores (left) and afters (right) one more time, all side by side:

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Modpodge Map Letters

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I am so excited about this project! It turned out pretty much just like I envisioned, and it was easy and really inexpensive. Win-win!

I bought 12″ papier mache letters at Joann. My local store didn’t have the letters I wanted, so I got them online.

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Sometime in the last year or two, I remembered finding some beautiful travel-themed wrapping papers that might look neat framed–Cavallini papers on Paper Source. So I decided to use some of those to decoupage onto the letters. It was tough to decide which ones to use–some of the maps? some of the vintage postcards? I settled on using two of the same, and to use a US map.

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This was the first time I’d ever bought my own jar of Mod Podge! I got two sponge applicators, which didn’t fit inside the jar–duh. Next time I’ll compare the two.  🙂 I chose the Matte finish because I figured up on the wall, the shiny might look weird.

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I had to decide where to place the map for where it would lay on the letters. I wanted mostly land and not a ton of water to show up, so both of the letters ended up being a big chunk of the middle (slightly different chunks, though–I didn’t want them matchy-matchy).

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I cut off some of the far edges to make it easier to work with, but not too much, so that I would have plenty to work with on the sides. Then I made a few cuts to correspond to some of the edges, so I could match it up on the blank side.

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I brushed on a light coat of the Mod Podge.

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I put the gluey side of the letter down on the back of the paper, lined up with the cuts (which was kind of difficult). I made a few more cuts and started folding the paper up and around/over the edges, and Mod Podging them down.

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There were several places where the paper overlapped, so I just cut and folded edges over the others. This was the hardest part–figuring out where to cut and where to fold. I probably should have tested some cuts with plain paper first to see how to get the best coverage. But eh, whatever, I wanted to just get it done, and naptime doesn’t last forever. 🙂

Also, for some emptier places on the sides, I glued down another, separate map piece, so that more of the letter would be covered.

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Then I did a few coats of Mod Podge on the back and then the front, letting each dry.

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I think they turned out quite nicely! (Not perfectly though; some of the edges aren’t smooth or even, and some of the folds/cuts weren’t ideal. But it would be so easy and inexpensive if I ever wanted to re-do them, if I ever decided to be super picky and perfectionist.)

I used a picture hanging hook and nail to put them up on the wall.

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Here they are in situ in the babies’ new and improved room:

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Again, I am so excited! I want to do more Mod Podging now!